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Psalm speaks about Dignitas' 2020 performance, the team's overall progress, and the state of competitive VALORANT

MichaelKelly

MichaelKelly

Wed 13th Jan 2021 - 11:13pm

Since August, Psalm has served as an integral part of Dignitas’ VALORANT roster. With 2020 winding down, the experienced veteran sat down with Michael Kelly to reflect upon the first few months of competitive VALORANT, the overall future of the game, as well as where Dignitas fits into the professional landscape.

Last time we spoke, you mentioned that your biggest goal for this team was seeing a full, steady five man roster be able to play together. Now that the roster has been in place for several weeks, how is the team progressing as a unit together?

Psalm: I think the team is progressing nicely. We’re still starting off a bit slow, but most of our issues are coming from performing in matches the same way we do in practice. Right now, it’s more of a mental block than anything else. We just gotta get over that hump.

What were you specifically able to learn from recent events such as the First Strike qualifiers and the Pittsburgh Knights tournament this past weekend?

Psalm: A couple things that I’ve learned playing in major tournaments is that when we play in unfamiliar situations, we tend to freeze up instead of doing what we normally do. Maybe it’s because of pressure or the fact that we’re scared of messing up, but it’s definitely something that we need to address and tackle. 

What have the arrivals of Oderus and Makkaloff done for the chemistry of the team?

Psalm: In terms of chemistry, we all work together really well. Team atmosphere is really good, as well. Everyone has a great work ethic. Everyone gets along. Those two in particular have filled the roles that we were looking for and they definitely bought some consistency, as well. 

With 2020 coming to a close and the first few months of competitive Valorant in the rearview mirror, how satisfied are you with the direction that the professional scene is taking?

Psalm: I’m pretty satisfied with how the game is taking off. Viewership has been really good so far, even though it’s all online. I’m excited for what the Champions Tour is going to bring and what VALORANT is going to look like next year. I’m almost positive it’s going to be a top-three or maybe even top-two esport. 

Obviously, your career spans several titles. Now that you’ve had a few months with the game, how confident are you in your own personal decision to make the swap over to Valorant full-time? 

Psalm: I’m extremely confident that I made the right decision to pursue Valorant over Fortnite. The scene’s only getting bigger. I’m only getting better. At the end of the day, I’m gonna win, and I’m gonna get paid.
 

Earlier in the year, you said that the biggest reason you came over to Valorant was because you had faith in the way Riot handles their esports. Now that you’ve had a chance to see the esports scene really kick off, how does pro Valorant --compare to other esports scenes in your eyes?

Psalm: Right now, Riot is taking a more hands-off approach and allowing a lot of third party organizations to do their own thing and run their own tournaments. I think that’s actually essential for growing the scene right now. But, in the future, I can definitely see them taking more of a hands-on approach and taking matters into their own hands when it comes to organizing tournaments. I’m fully confident in their approach to the game and I think everything is going to turn out alright. 

Heading into 2021, what biggest change are you looking for Riot to make to the competitive side of the game?

Psalm: Something that you’ll never escape in any competitive game are the balance changes that so many people in the competitive community are going to be looking for. Things like Jett being frustrating, the lack of viable controllers, and the overall small balancing issues are definitely something to watch. In terms of the actual competitive scene changes, Riot are experts at this. I’m just going to leave it to them. 

On a similar note, what are you looking to see get adjusted on a gameplay level in the near future?

Psalm: A few things that Riot maybe does poorly is they try to force certain agents into the meta. As a result, it makes those agents unfun to play against. Take Breach, for example. He received something like six simultaneous buffs in the same patch. But he was already in a decent spot before them. He had his niche in the meta, but now, when you play against Breach, it just makes you want to Alt-F4. That, and there’s some weapon changes I want to see, too. A lot of close-range weapons are a little bit too overpowered for their price points. The Frenzy, Bucky, Stinger, and a few others make it feel like you have no chance against them, and they cost only 1,000 or less. 

What lessons have you learned both as a player and a team that you’re looking to bring into the next year of professional Valorant?

Psalm: I’m still trying to figure out how to perform my best. In a game like VALORANT, it’s very easy to be inconsistent. Your shot could be off one day, or maybe your comms could be off another day, or maybe your strategy could be off one day, — it’s very easy to be off. But I’m still trying to explore what makes me the most consistent and at my best at all times. Whether it’s a certain way I communicate or a way I approach the game, or maybe even it’s the way I warm up, there’s a bunch of different things that I’m trying to make more consistent. 

Although Dignitas didn’t qualify for First Strike, how confident are you that the team is trending in the right direction and can qualify for the next major Riot-sponsored event?

Psalm: It’s really hard to say because since we didn’t qualify, people are writing us off. But if you look at our results, we came really close to getting into First Strike. I think we only lost 13-11 in the third map in that last match. We went 13-11 against big teams like T1 and Immortals who both qualified. We went 13-11 with Sentinels, who also qualified, and took Envy to a close third map, as well. We’re having these close matches with all of the teams that are among the best, but we’re just unable to close out. That’s what we need to figure out. 

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